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Lynas to produce rare earths concentrates in Kalgoorlie from August

Manufacturing News

Lynas Rare Earths expects to produce its first Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate (MREC) in August from its new rare earths ore processing facility (pictured) now under construction at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The opening date for the Kalgoorlie facility is ‘within the range of ramp up scenarios’ according to the company, which mines rare earths ores at Mt Weld in WA and produces rare earths metals critical to high technology products in Malaysia.

This is despite a number of issues in the waste gas treatment plant and the onsite gas supply, as well as late delivery of equipment and shortages of suitable qualified staff, holding up construction.

The company resorted to trucking in liquefied natural gas because of delays in the construction of a gas pipeline, and also had to overcome a lack of staff to run 24 hour construction activities.

Lynas told investors: “Whilst Lynas has sourced additional labour, the full effect of these two items cannot be fully mitigated at this time.”

The company is building the facility in response to continuing environmental concerns in Malaysia about radioactive wastes produced by its local rare earth metals production plant.

Lynas told investors that commissioning of the Kalgoorlie plant was being undertaken in four phases, with the fourth stage involving the introduction of reagents and feedstock, including the first lanthanide concentrate to the kiln.

Lanthanides are 15 metal elements including praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd) and dysprosium (Dy) critical for making permanent magnets used in electric motors and other high technology products such as touch screens and computer hard drives.

Stage four commissioning will be complete by 30 June, other than the waste gas treatment and gas supply.

“The first production of Mixed Rare Earth Carbonate (MREC) from the Kalgoorlie facility is now expected in August.”

The production of metals will continue in Malaysia.

Further reading:
Lynas gets reprieve from closure of Malaysian rare earths plant
Browse @AuManufacturing’s coverage of Lynas Rare Earths here.

Picture: Lynas Rare Earths/progress on Kalgoorlie processing facility

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